Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr

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The non-violence struggles and leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr led to the achievement of civil rights that the Indians and Americans enjoy today. Though they were both assassinated, their devotion to the civil rights movement led to curbing divisiveness, war, terrorism, and discrimination. King made a month-long visit to India and learned that he shared the same strategies, values, and struggles for the people (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). King vowed to continue the commitments of Gandhi. Such obligations included marching a peaceful demonstration with a crowd to Washington where he delivered his “I have a dream” inspirational speech and leading the bus boycott movement in Montgomery.

Similarities

King and Gandhi had region-political personalities. Their firm religious beliefs made them see the need to effect changes in their countries. King did a doctorate and practiced priesthood duties which he later resigned to actively participate in the struggles against the injustices of the time that inflicted upon the African-Americans (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013)., On the other hand, Gandhi believed strongly on the Hindu religion as he also grew from a staunchly religious family.

Through interactions with people from different walks of life in their communities, King and Gandhi realized that they could be of more help to their people in activism and politics than in the holy places alone. Eventually, they became elected leaders in their countries easily because they received unanimous support and trust (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). It was through political channels that they pushed for changes to bring sufferings and public outcry to an end in their societies. Even at death, they both achieved to bring social reforms in their countries.

King and Gandhi demonstrated similar struggles against the oppression of their people by confronting the white ruling authorities. King faced the Whites severally, including leading a large crowd of African-Americans into Washington to demand humane treatment and freedom as Americans (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). King wanted the Whites in America to understand that even though blacks arrived in America by force and through slavery, they could no longer abandon America. King aimed at making the Britons to acknowledge blacks as American citizens and treat them equally like their white counterparts.

King and Gandhi considered racial discrimination inhuman and launched several crusades against it. Gandhi went as far as in South Africa to lead crusades against apartheid, not just for his fellow Indians but also for the Africans. Nelson Mandela of South Africa got inspired by Gandhi’s efforts for civil rights and later continued with the commitment until South Africa attained her independence (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). In India, Gandhi led several crusades against the British rulers which resulted in India’s independence. He also helped to resolve religious divisiveness between Indians and Muslims by forging forward a religious pluralism movement.

King did not tolerate racial discriminations upon black people in America. He utilized the case of Mrs. Rosa who got arrested for being a black that refused to relinquish her bus seat to a white on leading a movement of boycotting white buses. From this occasion, he met fellow blacks on streets and in the churches to rally for the end of racial discrimination (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). King taught the people about the need to form a social movement that would cause changes in the institutions of the government so that the changes could be permanent. He said that changing the systems of the agencies would bring liberty since the American constitution was and is still among the best in the world.

King and Gandhi adopted nonviolence philosophy in their continued struggles for civil rights in the US and India, respectively. King taught his fellow Black Americans that destroying people and property would not bring them the justice they wanted (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). All the demonstrations that King led were peaceful, and people referred to them as “love force.”

Gandhi also led several peaceful demonstrations in both South Africa and India, which led to his arrests in the two countries but he did not relent. In 1915, Gandhi led groups of peasant farmers and urban laborers into a protest against high land taxes and discrimination imposed on them by the British colonizers (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). He also pointed several campaigns against the oppressive British rule into achieving self-rule. In all the social rights activism, Gandhi employed civil disobedience rule.

Differences

Despite the fact that both Gandhi and King used non-violence philosophies to bring social justices to their countries, they differed in their mode of operation. Gandhi believed that in the attainment of civil rights for his people, they needed to be devoted to the Hindu religion to guide their behavior and relations with people (Sandhu & Mahmood, 2013). Hinduism became the ultimate goal and answered to achieve lasting peace, liberty and civil rights according to him. He acted as a Hindu theocracy and civilizations since his eventual plan was to restore the Hindu authority in India.

King believed in the power of the American constitution to effect changes. He worked so hard to get the American law to be implemented in both the real and practical aspect to end the social injustices inflicted upon the black Americans (Sandhu& Mahmood, 2013). He reminded the people that America became their motherland since the dark days of slavery, and so they could not destroy it or despise it, instead, be loyal, hardworking and peaceful citizens as they waited for their freedom and recognition.

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  1. Sandhu & Mahmood (2013). Avoiding crimes of obedience: A comparative study of the autobiographies of MK Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology16(3), 295.
  2. Sandhu, A. H., & Mahmood. (2013). A. Martin Luther King Jr and Mk Gandhi: A comparative study. London: Royal Holloway, University of London.
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